NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Eric A. Avis

University of California at Berkeley

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Institutional Affiliation: University of California at Berkeley

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2017Money and Politics: The Effects of Campaign Spending Limits on Political Competition and Incumbency Advantage
with Claudio Ferraz, Frederico Finan, Carlos Varjão: w23508
This paper examines the effects of campaign spending limits on political competition and incumbency advantage. We study a reform in Brazil that imposed limits on campaign spending for mayoral elections. These limits were implemented with a discontinuous kink which we exploit for causal identification. We find that stricter limits increase political competition by creating a larger pool of candidates that is on average less wealthy. Moreover, we find that stricter spending limits reduce the incumbency advantage, causing mayors to be less likely to be reelected. These findings are consistent with a contest model with spending caps and endogenous candidate entry.
July 2016Do Government Audits Reduce Corruption? Estimating the Impacts of Exposing Corrupt Politicians
with Claudio Ferraz, Frederico Finan: w22443
Political corruption is considered a major impediment to economic development, and yet it remains pervasive throughout the world. This paper examines the extent to which government audits of public resources can reduce corruption by enhancing political and judiciary accountability. We do so in the context of Brazil’s anti-corruption program, which randomly audits municipalities for their use of federal funds. We find that being audited in the past reduces future corruption by 8 percent, while also increasing the likelihood of experiencing a subsequent legal action by 20 percent. We interpret these reduced-form findings through a political agency model, which we structurally estimate. Based on our estimated model, the reduction in corruption comes mostly from the audits increasing the perc...

Published: Eric Avis & Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2018. "Do Government Audits Reduce Corruption? Estimating the Impacts of Exposing Corrupt Politicians," Journal of Political Economy, vol 126(5), pages 1912-1964.

 
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